Ready for a deep dive into the intersection of technology and human emotion?
June isn't your average marketing pro; she honed her skills at Apple during its formative years, sharing an office landscape with none other than Steve Jobs. With an impressive CV featuring names like 3Com, Adobe, and Cisco, she's a Silicon Valley legend.
Don't miss our conversation where we journey back to the dawn of the computer age, exploring the blend of innovation and empathy that drives success. June shares her wisdom on leveraging technology for genuine human connection—a lesson you don't want to miss.
Trust me, this episode's insights are ones you'll want to revisit, time and time again. Get ready for another valuable episode that'll redefine your approach to branding and technology.
Here are the highlights from this episode:
06:29 - What was it like working with Steve Jobs
16:22 - The biggest challenge of startups in positioning their offerings
19:37 - The best way to differentiate yourself from the competition
27:36 - How digital humans help brands
30:00 - Why is it important for employees to master their own personal brands
35:06 - June’s badass superpower
This episode is sponsored by:
UneeQ - an artificial intelligence company, developing the most advanced autonomous digital human platform available for customer interactions – today and in tomorrow’s metaverse.
UneeQ’s mission is to deliver digital human experiences that excel in marketing, sales and service roles – reducing complexity, improving conversions and creating memorable customer moments for brands.
Want to Win a Digital Human valued at $100,000? Tell us your biggest, boldest and best idea for a digital human use case. We'll choose our favourite, build it and host it for one year for FREE.
Find out more here: digitalhumans.com/brandingmatters
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Hey there, I'm Joelly - the Branding Badass. My badass superpower is helping you build a brand that matters. From branded merch to brand consulting, when you work with me, you get results!
Need help creating brand awareness?
Learn more here BADASS MERCH
[00:00:00] Joelly: Hi, I'm Joelly, your Branding Badass and welcome to Branding Matters, a podcast I created and host to help you build brand equity for your business. My guest today is June Bower, Talker-in-Chief at Talkshop. June is an accomplished marketer having first learned the trade at Apple, where she had the unbelievable privilege of working alongside the one and only Steve Jobs. After June left Apple, she went on to serve as a marketing leader and CMO at some of the world's biggest brands, including 3Com, Adobe, Samsung, and Cisco just to name a few. During our conversation, June and I discussed what it's like to work with Steve and how innovation is so crucial when it comes to building a strong brand. I hope you enjoy our conversation as much as I did, and hopefully you're going to learn a few things to help you build your own brand.
[00:00:52] Sophie: Hi there. I'm Sophie. A digital human from Unique, not the voice you were expecting to hear, huh? Yes, I'm an AI voice, but what makes me different is I have a face, a body, and a personality too. So brands can offer real time, fun conversational experiences to customers exclusively for branding matters. Listeners, Unique is running a competition where you could win a digital human like me for a year. If you have a great idea for a digital human, we wanna hear about it. We'll build the winning idea and host it for a year. You can find out more including terms and conditions. Talk to me and submit your idea at digitalhumans.com/branding.atters. That's digital humans.com/brandingmatters. Okay, take it away, Joelly.
[00:01:37] Joelly: June, welcome to Branding Matters.
[00:01:39] June: Oh, thank you so much. I am so excited to be here because I love your podcast. As a marketer, I listen to podcasts all the time, and this is definitely one of my favorites. I love listening to the conversations and hearing other people's perspectives on marketing and branding. It's fantastic.
[00:02:00] Joelly: Oh, well, like I said, you're so sweet. I really appreciate it. I really appreciate you being here. So where are you right now? Where are you located?
[00:02:05] June: Well, I am in the heart of Silicon Valley. I live in Palo Alto, California. And down the street from here are a few other people you might know from Silicon Valley. Well, Steve Jobs used to live two blocks away. And, um, Larry Page from Google lives two blocks away as well. So it's definitely the center of what happens in Silicon Valley.
[00:02:26] Joelly: Oh, very cool. Have you ever been to Canada? I'm in Calgary, by the way.
[00:02:28] June: Oh, yeah. I have loads of Canadian relatives, if you can believe that. Mainly Montreal and Ottawa. But of course, I've been to Vancouver as well.
[00:02:38] Joelly: I'm actually originally from Montreal. So yeah, I'm originally from Montreal and moved here quite a few years ago, back in the 90s. So I still consider Montreal my home, though, which is I have my mom and sisters are there and friends. So, yeah, it's a beautiful city. Yeah. So June, tell me about the moment when you knew computers were going to be the next big thing.
[00:02:59] June: Oh my god, it's great that you asked that question because I do have a very specific memory of that. I got out of college, I was thinking I was going to become a professor. I got into UC Berkeley in a program that was a new program they just started on education, and I was very interested in being a professor of education. At the same time, I'd started to work for a company that had nothing to do with computers, but I knew nothing about business, and it was, it was a business. It had various operations. And I was thinking, this is really interesting. I never understood about profitability and revenue. I was starting to learn these basic things. And I was thinking it was fun. At the same time, I went to the orientation for this PhD program I'd been accepted into, and I was sitting on the lawn at UC Berkeley. And I thought to myself, you know what, I don't really want to do this. And so I. decided I would put that program on hold because I'd just been an undergraduate in college. It was like, I liked this job because it was interesting and I'd never made money before. So it was really, really kind of fun. So I'm at this job and I'm starting to look around me and going, wow, everybody's talking about computers. And I remember one day I was driving up, there's a highway that goes from San Jose, it goes straight up to San Francisco. It's called 101. I was driving up 101, after work, and I thought to myself, I need to get into computers. It's going to be the next big thing. I see it coming. I've got to get into it now. Had I ever touched a computer? Had I ever programmed? No, I didn't even know what they did, but I knew it was going to be the next big thing and I wanted to be there for it. And so I decided to start looking for a job in computers and got my first one shortly after that and have not looked back. That's amazing. So what year was that? Oh my gosh, that was probably 19. 78 or 79. Okay. I like you. I like innovation and. I ended up at the company that had developed the technology, which was the foundation for the Macintosh half the people from a division of SRI, which was a government research firm, went to Xerox parc and half of them went to this other company called timeshare and I ended up in that group. So it was probably the most innovative product. You could ever have the experience of using at that time. The guy who invented the mouse, Doug Engelbart, was a part of our team. It was lucky. It was a fluke and it was amazing. And I learned so much there.
[00:05:38] Joelly: That's incredible. You know, it's so funny, people listening, especially the younger generation. I mean, I think about my kids. They can't even imagine a world without computers. When you say you've heard, you thought computers are going to be the next biggest thing, they're probably sitting there going like, well, duh, but understanding that the world before computers, right? It's like, just to go on a bit of a tangent for one second here, my son just came back from traveling Europe and he and I were FaceTiming the whole time. And I was telling him about when I traveled after university and I was gone for two years and every time I would call my dad collect, he would be like, okay, hurry up on the phone is collect. And he's like, what's collect? You know, it's just not even in there. You know? Concept. So it's just, yeah.
[00:06:16] June: Bones aren't either. No kidding.
[00:06:19] Joelly: So you mentioned briefly when we first started, you talked about Steve Jobs. Can you tell me about your relationship with Steve Jobs and your your time working with him and what that was like?
[00:06:29] June: Yeah, it was an interesting time. You know, I got this job, as I said, pewters. And then I ended up in a sales job, if you can believe it. I'm so not a salesperson. But that's what I was in. I was very young. And I was learning And, um, I kept coming up with marketing ideas. So my boss who was great, he kept saying, well, go do this and we can use it as a sales team, make this sales tool. And so I did that. And then a friend of mine went across the street, literally it was just right across the street to this company that had, I loved the logo is this really cool, colorful logo. And I thought, Ooh, I want to work there. And that company was obviously Apple computer. And at the time. It was very small. I mean between 200 and 300 people max. Just, I think three buildings, three, two story buildings on Hanley road. So I went there and I didn't have any experience, like zero experience in marketing.
[00:07:24] June: I did an interview, tried to convince them I could do this job and they hired me kind of like, I couldn't believe I got hired for something I had zero experience doing, but they were looking for a certain kind of person and I really fit the mold. Age wise, same age as Steve Jobs. The majority of the company, we were all the same age. Same kind of outlook. And weirdly, another thing about Apple that was really interesting in those days was loads of women, loads of women in senior positions. One of the women I'd worked with at my first company had gone over there and she was the head of the software division. So she was in a very senior position. It was the company that was probably most accepting and supportive of women. Of any company I've ever worked for. And that was, I joined, I think in 1981, hasn't really gotten any better than that, in my opinion, which was another sad story we could talk about another time, but it was a very, I don't know, everybody seemed kind of equal except Steve.
[00:08:22] June: So when I started there, I had very little interaction with him because. I was in the Apple II group and he was off doing something new. We didn't really know what it was. It was with a very small group of people. And at that time, I was just trying to convince the company that having a mouse on an Apple II would be a really innovative thing to do, which I was flat out turned down. And I later thought, well, see, Steve saw the same thing. And, but anyway, so I didn't have a whole lot of interaction with Steve until. I wanted to do something new, which was I wanted to come out with a software product that would let people do spreadsheets and databases and writing product all in one. We were offering just three separate and so my boss had said, well, that's a good idea. Why don't you go out and talk to some companies and see if we can make this happen? So I went and I talked to this guy named Mitch caper. I don't know if you know him, but he started Lotus one, two, three. And it was a very popular software at the time. And he said, I'm not going to create anything for Apple too, because the IBM is everything. I'm just going to do stuff for IBM. So I was like, Oh God, I said, why don't you come out to Apple and I'll have Steve jobs meet with you. So that wasn't really my first interaction with Steve was when I entered to Mitch and Steve tried to get Mitch to write for the apple too. And Mitch would not do it.
[00:09:42] June: And Steve was furious. He did not like that. He did not like being told no. He didn't see no as an option, but he couldn't change. So, I went off and found another developer who just lived here in the mountains, right near me, Santa Cruz Mountains. And that guy wrote the product, and the product became, it was called Apple Works. It became the best selling product ever. For software at Apple, and this guy, his name was Rupert, he came one day to the office when I was working in a bigger building at Apple, and he said, June, I want you to come down to the parking lot. And I said, why? He goes, I want to take you for a ride. We went down there and he had a red Ferrari. In the parking lot and he said, let's go for a ride. And I said, what's this? And he said, well, I've made so much money from this product. He said, you've made me wealthy and I really appreciate it. And I remember negotiating that contract and our lawyer saying, Oh, this is such a good contract. We've really got this guy, but they didn't realize how successful product was going to be anyway, a little bit of an aside.
[00:10:40] June: So Steve was really pissed that we didn't get this guy to. to write the product, but in the end, it didn't really matter. So he kind of got over that. So then my next interaction, I can't say it was an interaction. We worked in cubes. So there were all these open cubes and the guy on the other side of the wall for me was the laser writer product manager. The Apple had shipped and it wasn't selling very well. I don't think most people remember this, but the Macintosh was not. Successful when it first came out, so we were struggling and we hadn't shipped the printer yet and the printer let you print anything you saw on the screen in the old days. You couldn't do that around then, so I hear Steve come into his office into this laser writer guy's office. He's the product manager and he says to this guy. You know, let's talk about pricing. The Macintosh is 5, 000 and I want to price the printer at 10, 000. And the guy was like, what are you kidding? Printers, you know, computer should be like 2, 000 and printers should be 300. What are you doing? Pricing the printer more twice as much as the computer.
[00:11:50] June: He said, that's what we're going to do. That is what we need to do. And they started screaming at each other. And when I say screaming, I mean, literally yelling at each other. I could hear every word of it because I was on the other side of the wall. And he finally said, if you don't like this, you can pack a box and leave. And the guy said, that's what I'm going to do. And he packed his box right then and left the company, but Steve forced it in the company. And what happened was we all realized the reason he was saying this is the value was in being able to print. What you saw on the screen. And once you could do that, it saved people so much money because people had to take printing jobs out for everything and printing in those days was very expensive.
[00:12:37] June: But if you could just use a laser writer to make what you saw on your screen, look exactly how it looks in print. That's all problem. And so 10, 000 was nothing compared to what it costs to print. So he understood the problem he was solving, which is something I think in marketing, we don't think about enough. Which is what's the problem you're solving and then pricing and packaging for value. Where's the real value? And once he did that, boom, Macintosh started to sell and it sold like crazy. And that expense didn't seem like much because it was a combined expense that customers compared to printing. So, you know, I learned Steve was take no prisoners, had a vision and Wasn't a softie.
[00:13:26] June: Let's put it that way. He had his vision and he wanted it to be realized. And we were the people who would make his vision reality. I really believed in his vision, though, because I thought he really knew. He really knew what he wanted. So, you know, I had more interactions with him after that. And the reality is it's kind of was a hard place to work because he made all the decisions and everybody else were the executors. And so that made it a little stressful and a little hard, but it was also amazing to see what his vision was and watch people execute on it. As time went by, like he was forced out of the company and then he moved into our neighborhood. So he was my neighbor. And so we would see him a lot on the street.
[00:14:07] June: Because he would go out walking and, and then his son was a fencer and my son was a fencer. And so they ended up fencing together. And so sometimes Steve would come to the tournaments. He was once at a tournament where he was right before the, um, iPhone shipped. And he showed, he talked to my husband who was watching the tournament. He said, so what would you think if we created this phone and it had all these features and it cost 800? My husband was like, there is no way I would buy a phone for 800. That is ridiculous. And then, of course, my husband was the first one online to get the phone when it actually shipped. But, you know, he kept thinking about new ideas.
[00:14:48] June: We ran into him once right before he came back to Apple, and we were talking to him about what he saw going on in the company with him not being there. And he just ranted about the leadership in the company. He did not find they were doing a good job at all. And he said, I am planning something and it is going to change the world. Like he had it in his head, what he was going to do. So, yeah, I mean, he was super visionary. He was fun to talk to because he was. He was outgoing and engaging and smart, but also he knew better than anybody else. So I kind of felt for his kids because, especially his son Reed, because you know, it's hard when your dad knows everything and there's not a lot of room for you, you know, but I, I really admire him. And from a personal perspective, he loved my son and that was really meaningful to me. So I definitely miss him and I miss him a lot. Wow.
[00:15:42] Joelly: That's, that's such a nice story and I really appreciate you sharing not just the business side, but also the personal side because you don't hear a lot about that. So thank you for sharing that. I'm curious to know, you know, it's funny you talk about Apple and the value and charging whatever it was, 3000 for the computer. And I love that because this podcast is really about helping brands build value and build equity for their businesses. And so there was a great example of how we didn't even know there was a problem out there, right? And I think that happens a lot. And then someone comes along and says, here, you may not know this, but I can do this. And, and then when you see the value, you'll pay whatever to solve that problem and make your life easier, right? Isn't that sort of the lesson there?
[00:16:22] June: Oh God. Yes, I agree. And what I spend now, I just work with primarily. I have kind of two businesses, but one of my business, I just work primarily with startups. And the biggest challenge I have with them is when I say, you know, tell me about the problem you solve. They talk to me about their product. Uh, yeah, no, that's your product. That's not a problem and it's not a customer problem. And I have to remind them and sometimes I have to introduce this idea that nobody really cares about them. Or their product, they care about their own problems. And I try to help them understand this by a lot of times. I'll tell the story of tied with bleach. I don't know if you know that story. No. So tied with bleach when they first came out, you know, you think about all the laundry detergents in a supermarket.
[00:17:06] June: There's lots of them no matter where you go and you go, well, how can that be because it's a commodity, right? It's all the same thing in the boxes. It's soap. So how can there be so many and this is what consumer packaged goods does So well, they don't sell soap. They convince you you have a problem You might not have known you had and so when tied with bleach first shipped I saw this on TV and it just hit me in the face. It was such an amazing story. It was an ad for type of bleach and instead of convincing me, Hey, this is an even better soap. It gets your clothes even cleaner, which wouldn't have really persuaded me. They said, Hey, what you probably don't know is that laundry detergent does not get the bacteria out of your clothes that causes illness.
[00:17:52] June: So if your kids get sick at home and you wash them, when it comes out of the laundry smelling great, it's still going to have that bacteria and it's going to get passed as an illness between everyone in your family. Do you want that? Who wants to have the whole family sick when one kid's sick? And they show some doctors talking about how it's real. They show a close up of the little bacteria crawling through the fabric. It's disgusting. I like, I was like, I don't even care if I get sick. I don't want those bacteria. It's so ugly close up. So they, they show that. And then they say, did you know that Tidewood bleach is the only laundry detergent? That gets the bacteria out.
[00:18:29] June: So your family stays healthy around. So what they did in that very short ad is they convinced me I had a problem. I didn't know I had, and they spent the vast majority of that ad convincing me, the problem was real, not convincing me they had the best product. And it's really easy for me to say that it's really hard for entrepreneurs to understand that and understand how to find that for their own business and execute on it. I can't tell you how many messaging workshops I do where people keep coming back to wanting to talk about their product. And I'm like, no, we got to talk about the customer, who they are and what's the problem. And a lot of times they're like, well, they have a lot of problems. They may not even know this problem. So let's back way up very difficult to do, especially with. Very technical people are sure that's a great story.
[00:19:16] Joelly: And coming from a branding perspective, branding is all about differentiating yourself and what do you do differently than all your competitors. And I always say, know who your competitors are, find out what they're doing, find out what they're saying, go on their websites, go on their social media, stalk them, and then see what they're not doing and saying, and then lean into that and be different. And that's what's going to set you apart.
[00:19:37] June: And I love what you just said, because at the heart of good positioning, is this idea that you are competitively differentiating yourself. And too many people try to differentiate on features. And that is a very, very weak position. Just, well, we have this and it's different from them. Versus differentiating on the problem you solve, which I think is what you're saying. And that is, you know, you have to choose a problem that your competitors can't credibly claim they could solve.
[00:20:08] June: Now, in consumer packaged goods, it's very difficult because companies can innovate fast and technology. We have such an advantage because you can build technology that's much harder to copy, but the differentiation really comes in the problem you choose to solve. So in order to choose the right problem, it's exactly what you said. You've got to look at the competition, not at their product, but at what they're saying the problem is that they solve. And I do that in every workshop I run on messaging, and I think the big thing I've learned is in technology, very few companies can do that well. I see it very, very rarely.
[00:20:42] Joelly: Before you continue, I just want to take a minute to talk about an exciting competition from our sponsors, Unique. Unique has made digital human experiences for the likes of L'Oreal, BMW, and Verizon. And now, exclusively for audiences of my Branding Matters podcast, they're running a competition where you could win a digital human for a whole year. All you need to do is a great idea for an AI powered digital human, and they'll build and host it for free for a whole year. It's a prize worth more than 100, 000 for one brand with a Big idea. And all you have to do is submit yours at digitalhumans.com/brandingmatters. That's digitalhumans.com/brandingmatters. Terms and conditions apply. And now back to the show. So you mentioned about your workshop, so let's talk about Talkshop. So what inspired you to launch it and can you share what it is?
[00:21:35] June: Yeah. So, um, I do workshops. I was inspired during the pandemic because this is really not marketing per se, but I, I was inspired by the fact that we all started to use our Zooms or our Googles to communicate with each other. And I was noticing people were really frustrated by the lack of human contact and feeling like they were in a way muted in terms of their capabilities. They couldn't influence as well. They couldn't build their own personal brand as well. They couldn't help control their career and where they were going as well. What I came to find out is that people probably can't do that even when they're face to face so well most of the time. And people crave learning more about How do I succeed at work? I do a messaging workshop, which is marketing oriented. I started that well before talk shop because that's probably the biggest demand in my business is help me as an entrepreneur message. But talk shop is more about how do I communicate in a way that gets me what I want at work. And I do workshops for, and this now is for larger companies, sometimes small, but mainly larger who want to help their employees be more successful in their jobs and from working many, many years as a CMO at many companies, I've had the experience of learning myself how to do that and learning for many other people. And so I really wanted to share that. And I'm working now, not really to make money, although, yes, I charge for my services, but it's really just to get joy from what I do. And it gives me great joy to help individuals to get better. and to feel good about what they're doing.
[00:23:16] Joelly: And so you started it in 2020, 2021 or? 2020. 2020, okay. So tell me about your marketing consulting business and who are you helping and how are you helping them?
[00:23:26] June: Yeah, I would love to because, uh, I, I so enjoy working with entrepreneurs and mostly what I do is I work with smaller venture backed companies who are being challenged with their marketing. They're being challenged to grow. Or to get the right customers or to tell the best, most persuasive stories. And so I am so lucky because I've been doing this now over 10 years to have, well, and I've worked in this valley. I've worked in the Silicon Valley for I don't even know how many years, but you heard me talk about Apple. And so I know a lot of people, I have the opportunity to work with some amazing entrepreneurs and. Our hearts are so similar in the sense that I like to innovate and they do too. And I find this very exciting and it's super fun to work with people that are into building new cool products. A few examples I could give you one of the companies, and I think the CEO was on this very podcast and I thought he did a fabulous job. Of course, I thought your interviewing was great as well, but Tom said it was unique. And I had been working with a VC and, and Unique was part of their portfolio and I would do workshops for their companies. And I heard Danny at one of the workshops talking and he was talking about his product and he was talking about what he was doing, thought, this is somebody I want to work with. I love this guy. He gets the value of marketing. He clearly knows how to sell and his product. It's mind blowing. And this was kind of before the whole AI thing came to be. He was building a product, which was essentially these digital. Yes. And what that means is like you would see a person on your screen and it looked like a human being and you could interact with them like a human being, but it wasn't. Remember one day my husband came into my office when I was working with Unique. Uh, Sophie, one of the characters was on my screen, and in resting position, they kind of act human, and they're still moving a little, and their eyelashes are going. And he said, he whispered to me, is that a real person? Oh, I know. Bizarre. And she was, you know, of course, not, but I feel like I know her personally. And I was so drawn to this product, not just because I think it's cool technology, but because I think it's a cool marketing vehicle. It's like mind blowing what you could do. Because I think in general, people don't feel listened to. I mean, think about the last time, and I know for me, oh god, I had to get a new plan with AT& T. And I'm telling you, I practically had a nervous breakdown.
[00:25:58] Joelly: Oh, I just went through it with our own local telecommunications company, trying to switch over my cell phone. It was a nightmare.
[00:26:05] June: Yeah. Yeah. It took me like three days basically to make this happen. And one trip to the store, which is like worse than going.
[00:26:11] Joelly: Mine was four trips to the store, FYI, with my son. I'm not kidding.
[00:26:15] June: Oh my God, you beat me. Yeah. All of us, I think we can't stand having to work with our phone companies and I don't care if it's AT&T or Rogers or anybody else, it's going to be really challenging. So what they did, they had Deutsche Telekom as a customer, the biggest telephone company in Germany. And they said, we want to change this. We realize this is a problem, we want to change it. So they put a digital human onto their website, and she could talk people through the plans. And she could help them make decisions. I don't know if you've ever heard this, there was research done, it was actually done near me at a local grocery store by a Stanford professor, where she did one experiment where she let people taste, I think something like 12 or 20 different kinds of jam. And then she saw how many got sold. And then the next day she came back and she gave people just three types of jam to choose from.
[00:27:07] June: And what did she learn from this experiment? What she learned was that when she gave them three types of jam, they bought huge amounts more than with all those choices. In fact, with all the choices, they bought practically nothing. People cannot manage lots of choice. And that was such an impactful study to me as a marketer to really paring back any kind of options. Now the phone company gives you options need to be put into a book and then someone needs to come explain it for you to know. Deutsche Telekom said is let's put a digital human there that can talk to people, find out what their needs are, and then make the best recommendations to them. And it does a couple things. It makes it a human experience. But it also makes it an emotional experience and makes it one where you feel not frustrated and angry, but good that someone's really listening to you. And the best thing digital humans can do in my mind, while they can actually have a conversation and it's really cool.
[00:28:01] June: And by the way, it's really hard to do. They can listen and they can listen really well because they don't really have an ego. So they have no need to talk. And so they can ask questions like we were talking about earlier and they can really listen and they can really help people. And their conversion rates, I think they went up something like 97 percent after they put Sophie at their site. So the idea of without huge cost being able to put a digital human. is amazing. And they're doing the same thing. I mean, there's lots of brands who are looking at, I think Kiehl's, I don't know if you know them. Oh yeah. They're using a digital human in their stores. So they have a kiosk and you can go up to her and talk to her about like, what's the best way to treat my skin. And you have a conversation about it. You don't fill out a form or check box. You really talk to her and she makes sure she understands you. And then she recommends the right thing to do. And I'm so in love with this idea of using technology. to make people feel better. And I think that's what you really get when you work with Unique. So I think that's such a great example, and I've had the best time working with them and helping them and really talking about how do we put this to work for ourselves? How do we actually build it into our own sites?
[00:29:12] Joelly: You know, it's interesting. I love everything you just said and it reminds me, it's bringing me back to my conversation with Danny, because it was a while ago and it really was before ChatGPT and everything exploded and, you know, I had a lot of Sort of tough questions for him, right. Which I do sometimes with my guests, but I love the way he explained it about how it really, actually, you shouldn't be afraid of it because it will make your life easier and it'll make communication trying to get things done easier and faster and you will feel better. So I, I love that you're on here sort of reiterating that because I forgot about that was a while ago. But it's also true. We can let our fears subside and, and back to what you said, be open and listen and hear how this will actually help your life. I think there's a lot more benefits to it. So, You mentioned employees briefly. Why is it important? And I, and I'm really interested in this question. I mean, I'm interested in all of them, but this one speaks to me. Why is it important for employees to master their own personal brands?
[00:30:04] June: Oh, well, let me tell you another story about my personal brand where I worked at a company called 3Com. It was where I went after Apple and it was a very successful company since it's been sold to HP, but I started there as a product manager for their Macintosh networking products, very technically complex. They had products for Microsoft as well. That was their biggest business. Macintosh was just coming on the scene. So it was kind of a side gig. And I came in and I was really passionate about Macintosh products. They gave me a couple of people to work for me because They could see I was doing a good job. I built great products. We were selling a lot of them. And then one day my boss and my boss's boss came to me and they said, yeah, we just hired a new guy. Who's going to be the head of the entire product line, Macintosh and the Microsoft products. And I was like, what? You guys told me I was doing a great job. Why didn't you talk to me? And they said, well, because we thought you loved Macintosh. We didn't think you'd want to manage all the products. And I went, Oh, I think I made a mistake with my brand. I didn't think those exact words, but I realized they had the wrong impression of me. They thought my enthusiasm was for Macintosh.
[00:31:18] June: My enthusiasm was I was a champion of products and I am a great champion of products. And I can champion anything, but they thought it was about Macintosh. And so I thought, my God, that was a bad thing that they just made that assumption. And I can see why they did. And it happens all the time in company. So if you want to get what you want in a business, you need to build a brand that helps you do that. And that was such an awakening for me. And what I realized then is, you know, when I thought about it and I thought about it more proactively, I realized my brand is really about being the guardian of the customer. And I remember I started to change my behavior and what I said in the company. After that happened and in meetings and with our, um, the head of our division became the CEO of the company. And I was in a meeting with him and a whole bunch of other people. And they were talking about this very cool new technical thing that I barely understood and what they were going to do with it and how much it was going to cost.
[00:32:13] June: And I just said, Hey, has anybody talked to customers about this to see if it's something they really want? And I remember the CEO at the time, he said, June, you always hold our feet to the fire when it comes to customers and make us really think about the customer. He said, I really appreciate that. That's great. And I thought, Oh, I've succeeded. Now he's seeing me in a different light and he's seeing that I can do something different. And he ultimately let me run marketing for the company, which was a very cool opportunity.
[00:32:40] Joelly: So then what does it mean then for an employee to master their own brand and how do they do it? I mean, are you saying figure out what your strength is and make that all about your personal brand and make sure that not only people in the organization, but also outside the organization understand that and buy into that? Or can you just elaborate a little bit more?
[00:32:59] June: Yeah, I really focus on helping people within their jobs. I'm not trying to help people become stars. My goal is to help them get what they want out of their job by having a brand that's meaningful to their company. And I think you'll understand this, but it's the exact same thing that you do with. a product brand. You must do it for yourself, which is what's the problem I want to solve. How do I convince people it's the most important problem we need to solve? And how do I communicate that in everything that I do? And brands have this challenge of becoming known for something. And too many CEOs I work with, they want to do this and that and the other and let's try this and let's talk about that. And it's like, Man, you got to focus. If you want people in the outside world to hear you and know who you are, you have to focus. And the same is true for personal brands and companies. You need to focus on one meaningful thing that maybe the company didn't even know they needed. Like, did they really need a guardian of the customer? I don't think they thought so. But once I became that person, it was like invaluable to them. And then associating that with me helped me grow my career. So when I talk about personal brand, well, I had this young woman I was talking to. She came to one of the workshops and she said, well, this is, this is what I really care about. And she ended up caring a lot about health care and changing the way health care works. And she felt like she couldn't really have that be her brand because it wasn't front and center for the company. And I said, there's, there's nothing that should stand in the way of you and your passion and making it meaningful to the company. And we talked about how to do that. And I think she could not believe that something she really wanted was possible and that she could be that person and that it could be a value. So a lot of times our personal brand it's there and it's waiting for us. But there are things keeping us from seeing it as a real possibility, right?
[00:34:56] Joelly: Okay. So I've taken up so much of your time, but I do have one more question that I ask all my guests. So June, what is your badass superpower?
[00:35:06] June: Oh, my badass superpower. Well, you're not going to be surprised by this, but I am a great listener. I love listening. I think it's so interesting to find out about other people. And I would say my superpower as a listener is I listen for patterns. I listen, trying to hear what's that person really saying by hearing how things fit together in what they're telling me. And I'm always trying to understand what's their deepest motivation. To drive them because if I can understand that I can really understand them as a person. I am a super non judgmental Person, I just am curious and I want to know what drives people Partly because I'm curious about what drives me and I'm curious in the differences between people, but I am fascinated and I have an unending fascination with what the motivation is that's making people say and act the way they do and I would listen forever. It gives me great pleasure.
[00:36:05] Joelly: That's great. I love that. And no, I'm not surprised to hear you say that. One thing that's interesting when you were talking about what motivates people, I have a lot of people ask me if I have a business background, if I have a marketing background. And when I went to school, I actually studied psychology and I'll say to somebody, I'll say, you know what, you pick up any business book and what do you think that is? That's psych 101. What motivates people? What inspires people? How do you get somebody to, you know, get into the why behind the what? Right. It's all psychology. So everything you just described is all what we learned back, or what I learned back in university, and I use it. People go, well, how do you use your psych degree for marketing and business? I'm like, are you kidding me? I work with people. We're people working with people.
[00:36:44] June: Yes, yes. Yeah. Yeah. I could not agree more. I think it's so, I think it's so powerful. I majored in Psycholinguistics, which is combination of psychology and linguistics, but really, In my heart of hearts, I wish I'd majored in sociology because to me that's what marketing is. It's the behavior of groups.
[00:37:01] Joelly: Yeah. And um, I did sociology, but I sucked at statistics. So that's why that's too bad.
[00:37:05] June: Yeah. I like statistics, but I like theology the most. Yeah. But that's so cool that you see that and that you got it. I totally understand that. Makes sense.
[00:37:17] Joelly: Yeah. Well, it's been such a pleasure talking to you and you're a lovely surprise. That's one of the things I love about this. I have these great conversations with amazing people. So if people want to learn more about you and they want to connect with you personally, what's the best way for them to do that?
[00:37:29] June: Well, you can go onto LinkedIn. I think that's the best thing possible. And search for June Bower. I think there might be five in the US, but I will undoubtedly come up because there are very few and I get searched on a lot. So get onto LinkedIn. LinkedIn with me. Send me a message and we can connect. And I would love to meet those of you who are listening because we have a big thing in common, which is we love this podcast.
[00:37:53] Joelly: Aw, you're so sweet. Any closing words before we say goodbye?
[00:37:54] June: Thank you so much. You ask great questions and you are the epitome of a good listener and I appreciate that. Thank you.
[00:38:02] Joelly: Well, right back at you. So thank you again. And hopefully maybe if I come out to California next time we can grab a coffee or something.
[00:38:09] June: Oh, absolutely. That'd be great. Absolutely.
[00:38:12] Joelly: Take care. We'll chat soon. Okay. Thanks.
[00:38:14] June: Bye.
[00:38:19] Joelly: And there you have it. Thank you so much for tuning in. I hope you enjoyed the conversation and hopefully you learned a few things to help you with your branding. This show is a work in progress, so please remember to rate it and leave a review on whatever platform you listen to podcasts. And if you'd like help building your brand, please send me a private message on my website at brandingmatters.ca. I promise you I reply to all my messages, and you can also follow me on social under, you guessed it, Branding Badass. So thanks again, and until next time, here's to all you badasses out there.